Recently I spoke with someone who dramatically enlivened and refocused my attention. For the art world, the small chunk of it we inhabit inLos Angelesand the practices that he and our friends conduct. I do not speak to many people who have such a casually contemplative air about them, who slowly disclose absolutely personal information with an ease and pacing that makes the conversation feel entirely natural while continuing to be deeply revealing and profound. Before we spoke I felt as though I hardly knew this person. Sure I knew the position they occupy in a Los Angeles art community, some of the effects and connections they have—I knew their professional self but had no idea who they actually were. After four hours, which seemed to disappear as though time was no limitation, I could begin thinking about this person not as a fictionalized figure in my art world, but as a concrete, living, loving, knowing man.
I began to see this man’s personal and professional selves coincide. I began to move beyond an understanding of what he does to contemplate how and why he began doing it, what it might mean, and how it relates to our lives and practices. I am beginning to realize there can be no art without an artist and no understanding of either without an understanding of the other. We are lucky enough to have an exhibition platform that knows who we are and always wants to know more, not a blank room that tries to objectify and sell us, but a real man who is just trying to help himself and us in the process, understand.